Volume 44, Issue 1 p. 70-87

Reading Nearby: Literary Ethnography in a Postsocialist City

Matthew Rosen

Corresponding Author

Matthew Rosen

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ohio University, Bentley Annex 162, Athens, OH, 45701

Search for more papers by this author
First published: 14 June 2019
Citations: 6


The solitary reader, sitting quietly surrounded by her thoughts, is a powerful image. But reading is also a deeply social practice. From learning to read to deciding what to read next, a significant amount of literate activity takes place within specific social relationships. Drawing from ethnographic research I conducted between 2015 and 2018, this essay shows how the act of co-reading has contributed to the emergence of a new literary community based in Tirana, Albania. The broader intention of the essay is to demonstrate the application of the general approach to literary anthropology I call reading nearby.